School Aims, Prospectus & Admissions

Aims of Merit

The aim of Merit is to provide access to education for all children and young people with medical needs; keeping education alive in the student's life, maintaining progress and enabling them to achieve their potential while meeting the core values of Merit of relationships, resilience and responsibility.

These are students who may be at risk from themselves as well as externally. Some harm themselves while others shut themselves off from external factors and become isolated and withdrawn. These are the students who are medically unfit to attend school and some have life limiting conditions. Others may have experienced trauma which has de-stabilised their mental health or have mental health issues which require intervention. Whatever the problem Merit uses an individualised approach to help and support.
The aims of Merit are:-

  • To re-engage a student with learning
  • To enable students to take their rightful place in society
  • To help the students become successful adults
  • To provide wrap around care and learning for life.

Merit school admission procedure

  • The referral form must be completed and signed by the student’s mainstream school. It is important that all areas are completed so we have a picture of ability and interventions tried as well as all the personal and contact details.

  • The form needs to be signed by the Headteacher authorising Merit to recoup the cost for that student for the time they are at Merit.

  • All referrals must have supporting evidence from a senior medical practitioner. This is at Consultant, Paediatrician level NOT a GP. Supporting evidence may also be provided by Camhs or equivalent.

  • All referrals must be sent to the Lead for Learning Pathways, Children and Young Peoples Services, Civic Centre, Stoke-on-Trent City Council Stoke-on-Trent City Council or email: SASCALap@stoke.gov.uk. If a Merit place is being requested a copy must also be sent to Mrs Josephine Bullock – Merit’s School Business manager via email to: Josephine.bullock@stoke.gov.uk. The LP team meet regularly to discuss referrals and identify whether Merit is the best provision and the type of offer to be made (part time, phased, shared, full time etc.) or whether a different educational route might be more suitable such as home or personal tuition or another provider. Once a referral to Merit has been potentially agreed a home visit followed by an assessment visit is completed by Merit staff.

  • Potential student and parent / carers are invited to visit Merit in preparation to begin as soon as possible.

  • The first few days at Merit are filled with assessments and may be part time.

  • Each student is issued with a Merit polo shirt and expected to wear school standard black trousers / skirt with the polo shirt and plain black top. (See uniform guidelines).

  • Following admission there is a six week review when the placement is considered and future plans for return to mainstream school or next steps are considered. There is generally a six weekly review cycle following this.

Merit is not always the correct provision for a student and this can sometimes lead to disappointment and frustration. However in such cases we will endeavour, with the help of the multi-agency panel, to signpost the referring body to alternative provision better suited to meet a particular student’s needs.

Home tuition / Personal tuition

Home tuition is available for students who are considered medically unfit to attend school and is usually a long term provision. Personal tuition is available for students whose medical needs are not considered to be as long term and it is always the aim of personal tuition to complete as little education in the home as is possible and therefore may be completed in a variety of places. This includes the library, leisure centre, hospital classroom and Merit school. Personal tuition will be a building block towards re-engagement with school and a supportive bridge between school and home. In severe cases this may not be possible.The mainstream school retains responsibility for the student whilst in receipt of personal tuition from Merit tutors.

Home / Personal tuition admission

  • A referral form must be completed and returned to SASCALap@stoke.gov.uk and also to Merit for all home / personal tuition cases with as much detail as possible, particularly contact details within the mainstream school for exchange of work and curriculum requirements.

  • The form needs to be signed by the Headteacher authorising Merit to recoup the cost for that student for the time they are in receipt of home or personal tuition.

  • In the case of a straightforward medical discharge, home or personal tuition will be allocated as soon as is possible following receipt of signed referral forms. 

  • If there is concern regarding the appropriateness of personal tuition or where it is requested through non-attendance at school the referral will be considered by Merit staff and the case presented by the referring school.

  • Home / personal tutors are allocated to individual cases and every effort is made to achieve consistency with one or two tutors working with a student. This does mean that there is not always a specific subject specialist available for secondary students.

  • The length of time allocated to each student will be for as much education as they are medically able to receive. We aim for a student to have education on a daily basis as soon as possible.

  • Progression from personal tuition may be straight back into mainstream school, back to the Learning Pathways Board for consideration or a transfer into Merit.

Our aim is that no student works at home in isolation for prolonged periods if it is at all avoidable. Our creative and committed team of tutors will endeavour to move students on to achieve reintegration with school and society.